Microsoft asks Intel for a 16core Atom server chip

first_imgThe Intel Atom processor line is associated with low power usage in devices such as a netbook or nettop computer. The emphasis is definitely not on performance, it’s on pushing up battery life on a device with a small display and mid-range graphics requirements while still managing a decent desktop experience.Microsoft thinks Atom can do more, though, and wants to use it in servers. With that in mind it is calling on Intel to up the cores in an Atom chip to 16, and deploying it as a low power server chip solution.AdChoices广告That call comes from distinguished engineer Dr. Dileep Bhandarkar, of Microsoft Global Foundation Services, a core part of the team that looks after Microsoft’s data centers. So you can assume he knows what he’s talking about in ther server space and that Intel will take his request seriously.Although not suitable for all server workloads, Bhandarkar believes Atom is better suited than Xeon chips for specific tasks. He thinks the power savings would make Atom servers worth deploying for the overall cost savings they would offer. He also believes the same is true of AMD’s low-power Bobcat chips.There’s hope for ARM chips appearing in Microsoft data centers in the future too. Windows is going to get support for ARM, and Bhandarkar says ARM just needs to prove its performance worth:If ARM can show us enough value over an x86 solution we might consider that. Instruction-set transitions are extremely painful … As a general rule of thumb, you have to have a sustainable improvement per dollar per watt of at least 2x — some would say 5x — but it’s at least 2x to make it worthwhile. For some apps where you don’t have that dependency the number could be smaller. ARM’s an interesting thing to look at and, if nothing else, if it lights a fire under Intel and AMD to deliver more effective x86 solutions, I’m happy. For the moment, Intel says it has no plans for a server version of its low power processor, but with Microsoft executives as enthusiastic as Bhandarkar putting the pressue on, it may just happen in the next few years.Read more at PC Worldlast_img

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